Australian explorer Boss Energy (ASX: BOE) has confirmed it will trial a seismic reflection program as part of a strategy to grow the inventory at its Honeymoon uranium project in South Australia.
The program is designed to identify likely uranium-bearing sediments within known mineralised palaeochannels at the project ahead of a drilling campaign scheduled to start in the coming quarter.
While reportedly ubiquitous in oil exploration, seismic surveying is relatively novel in the exploration of shallow mineral deposits.
Low cost and low impact
Boss recognised the potential advantages offered by seismic methods in 2019 and began adopting them due to their low cost, low impact and speedy approach to exploration.
Utilising seismic datasets with existing geoscientific information, the company plans to reduce the number of drill holes required to locate additional resources within pre-defined exploration targets at Honeymoon, allowing for streamlining of ground-based workflows and preserving exploration funds.
Managing director Duncan Craib said the new technique would help manage the re-start of Honeymoon, which was mothballed in 2013 when it became too expensive to run amid weak commodity prices.
“The seismic reflection program is aimed at creating value by growing the mineral resource inventory for Honeymoon, where we believe there is substantial exploration upside,” he said.
“Passive seismic helped to refine the [project’s] palaeovalley geometry [and] this modern reflection will add to that by enhancing the detail of likely permeable horizons within the palaeovalley fill.”
Boss’ strategy at Honeymoon consists of exploration greenfields targets to advance identified zones of potential high-grade mineralisation; and upgrading satellite JORC resources at the nearby Jason’s and Gould’s Dam deposits.
Mr Craib said the “combined arsenal” of two seismic systems would allow better targeting of exploration drilling, opening the door to increased life of mine and production rates, which would grow the project’s net present value and free cash flow.
Seismic reflection surveying will be the final geophysical activity at Honeymoon before drilling commences later this year.
The technique works by sending sound energy into the ground and listening for echoes from the rock units below.
At Honeymoon, the sand layers which host the mineralisation and their surrounding channel walls will reflect the sound energy back to the surface where high-tech microphones will record the responses and use them to produce a visual representation of the host formation.
The process is similar to medical imaging using an ultrasound.
An orientation survey will be conducted to confirm suitability of seismic reflection for the shallow nature of Honeymoon’s uranium.
Once proven, the technique will be rolled out to high-priority target areas identified from previous work programs.
Boss introduced passive seismic surveying to South Australia in 2019 when it was trialled selected Honeymoon target areas to refine mapping of the Yarramba and Billeroo palaeovalley systems.
It has since been used for regional surveys to map the base of the project’s palaeovalleys and confirm the current exploration model of narrow palaeochannels within a broader palaeovalley system.
Mr Craib said the company would use seismic reflection to gain more information on the Eyre Formation sediments (which host the Honeymoon mineralisation) and any internal structures which could break permeable layers or create mineral trap sites for uranium accumulation.